Shoppers at Fashion Outlets in Niagara Falls USA have been enjoying new “profits” in recent weeks. The Empower Grab ‘n Go Cart, which serves coffee and a variety of drinks and snacks, is open for business on weekdays from 11am to 1:30 pm near Entrance 7, which is close to the 5th interior entrance of Saks OFF.
The train is operated by Empower, a non-profit organization based in the City of Niagara, and provides paid job training opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Fashion Outlet from Niagara Falls USA is hosting the cart for next year.
Grab ‘n Go Cart is inspired by Anthony Salvo, who participates in the Empower job training service. After completing Leadership Niagara in 2019, Anthony wants to take the next step towards his dream of owning a coffee shop. Empower’s staff have worked with Anthony to build a mobile coffee cart that will allow him, and others supported by Empower, to learn the ropes of food service.
John Doran, the Fashion Outlets property manager, heard about the project as a member of Empower’s advisory board. She asked to see Anthony, and quickly decided to get involved. Doran worked with his company, Macerich, which owned and operated the shopping center, to get one year’s rent free of charge.
“Empower’s Grab ‘n Go is just the kind of convenience our buyers are looking for, and we are delighted to help this influential organization and one of its key participants get started on this new concept well,” said Doran. “We value our relationships across the community and consider Fashion Outlets in Niagara Falls USA to be a great place to launch new retail ideas, such as these coffee and snack carts – especially one that offers so many benefits to everyone involved.”
Salvo explained, “I dream of opening a coffee cart because I know this will help people with disabilities find community work. … I feel really excited about opening Grab ‘n Go Cart. … I promise you a great cup of coffee and a good snack at a great price. “
The train was originally scheduled to open April 1, but the pandemic that caused business disruption across the country this spring and summer delayed its debut. Starting October 1, the new carts will allow midday shoppers to enjoy a selection of coffee and other hot and cold drinks, a breakfast menu and snacks. Credit cards and cash will be accepted.
“People with disabilities have goals and dreams like everyone else,” said Jeff Paterson, CEO of Empower. “Anthony and his colleagues are ready to show the world what they can do. We invite the community to support this exciting endeavor. “